Infant care: Overview on skin allergies

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There are various types of skin allergies among infants such as diaper rash, eczema and cradle cap. It is vital that you are familiar on how to handle these common forms of skin allergies.

Close look on skin allergies

A skin allergy develops once the skin becomes inflamed after direct exposure to an allergen or if the immune system releases histamine as a response. Once this occurs, it triggers an inflammatory reaction and can worsen hives, eczema and other skin rashes.

Remember that infants and young children with a history of sensitive skin, asthma, eczema or skin allergies have hyperirritable skin. This simply means that repeated wetting and drying can result to a rash that is similar to one caused by a food allergy.

What are the usual causes?

The initial step is to determine if the rash is triggered by an irritant such as drool or an allergen. In case of a possible allergen, the doctor might recommend a skin prick test.


Skin allergies
A skin allergy develops once the skin becomes inflamed after direct exposure to an allergen or if the immune system releases histamine as a response.

Drooling is capable of triggering a rash around the mouth and the chin. Most parents think that it is a rash triggered by a food allergy when it is just a skin irritation.

The irritation is characterized as reddened, small bumps on the area that came in contact with the saliva. The rash usually develops around the mouth but can spread down to the neck and chest.

You can coat the area around the mouth with petroleum jelly before feeding. After feeding, clean the area and apply another coating. The rashes triggered by drooling can be uncomfortable and unattractive, but not an issue to worry about unless a crusty yellow area appears which is an indication of infection. If this occurs, a doctor should be consulted.

Lotions, soaps and detergents

It is common for infants who have sensitive skin to develop a reaction to certain moisturizers, cleaners and laundry detergents that might contain irritating chemicals.

A reaction is a reddened rash or irritation that occurs after bathing the infant, applying lotion or wearing newly washed clothes.

It is recommended to switch to a different brand, especially those that are free from fragrances. When using new products, apply a small amount on the infant’s skin and wait for a few minutes if there is a reaction.

Food allergens

If irritants have been eliminated yet the rash persists, a food allergy might be the culprit. The usual allergens among young children include milk and egg but also soy, wheat and peanut as well.

In most cases, a reaction is characterized by welts, flushed skin, hives and swollen lip, face or tongue. Once swelling occurs, the child might be experiencing anaphylaxis which is a serious reaction that typically develops right after eating the culprit food. If the child has difficulty breathing, call for emergency assistance right away.

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